Sunday, February 12, 2023
During the first four seasons of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Quetta Gladiators remained one of the most successful franchises, winning the title in 2019.
However, since then, the team hasn’t been able to live up to fans’ expectations.
Between 2020 and 2022, Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Gladiators failed to qualify even for the playoffs.
With PSL 8 just around the corner, Gladiators will be looking to make a strong comeback in the upcoming edition of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)'s marquee event.
Gladiators' biggest strength is their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed who is still one of the cleverest skippers in Pakistan's cricket circle. The winning captain of two ICC events, Sarfaraz has been leading Gladiators since the first season. Under him, the Gladiators won the glittering trophy in 2019 and have already started PSL 8 season on a winning note after beating Peshawar Zalmi in the first-of-its-kind exhibition match in Quetta.
Iftikhar Ahmed's unbelievable form is another positive in Gladiators' camp, who will start their PSL 8 campaign against Multan Sultans on their home ground on February 15. Iftikhar had a phenomenal Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) season where he also smashed his maiden T20 hundred. Last Sunday, in the exhibition match, he struck Wahab Riaz for six maximums in an over.
Young and talented pacer Naseem Shah will be leading Gladiators' bowling line. The young gun proved himself as a potential bowler in the white-ball format after displaying his skills in T20 Asia Cup, last year, and later in T20 World Cup 2022 too.
Gladiators don’t have someone to anchor the innings as they mostly have hitters at the top of their batting line. They have four batters Jason Roy, Martin Guptill, Ahsan Ali, and Abdul Wahid Bangalzai who are natural openers. Also, their playing style, which is to hit the ball hard, is quite similar.
If they lose early wickets, they will find it difficult to build their innings until Sarfaraz himself comes in or Umar Akmal takes that anchor role responsibility.